Drivers in Tennessee, as elsewhere, can become inattentive. However, they should be aware that this is dangerous. This is especially the case in highway work zones due to their narrow lanes and reduced speeds, which many drivers ignore. A University of Missouri study has found that inattentive drivers are 29 times likelier to get in a crash or have a near-miss in a highway work zone.
Inattention can come in various forms: texting, talking on the phone and even conversing with someone physically present in the car. Sending a text takes approximately five seconds, which could allow a driver going 55 miles per hour to cover the length of a football field without realizing it. However, the study is clear that the risk for a crash remains the same no matter the distraction.
Rather than relying on the sometimes-vague information supplied by crash reports, the study used drivers’ firsthand accounts from the Transportation Research Board’s naturalistic driving study. In the more than 3,000 accounts at hand, drivers explained how they were interacting with their vehicle and their surroundings before causing a crash. Researchers saw more clearly than ever the responsibility that people have to drive safely in work zones.
When drivers ignore this responsibility and become distracted, any motor vehicle accidents that arise as a result will be their fault. Of course, victims themselves may be partially to blame, but Tennessee follows a comparative negligence rule that allows plaintiffs in personal injury cases to recover damages as long as they are less than 50% at fault. To see how much they might be eligible for and to get assistance with negotiations, victims may hire a lawyer.